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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Abuse & Assault » The difference between abuse and one-off cruelty?

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Author Topic: The difference between abuse and one-off cruelty?
Saffron Raymie
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 49582

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Okay. My partner is great friend. However, once something happened that makes me wonder if he's safe. As I grew up in abuse, I have been prone to winding up in abuse in my past relationships.

At the start of the relationship, I was still healing from a past sexual assault. I developed really bad body image - around my breasts. I felt, everywhere I looked were images and messages that sexualized female breasts (and women's bodies in general.)

So, I became distraught. I hated my chest and rang my partner in tears about it. He asked if there was anything he could do. I asked if he could stop treating my breasts as anything sexual and asked if they could have no part in our sex life - including not being touched. I then asked if he'd stop calling my breasts 'boobs' because it made me uncomfortable. He point blank refused, but we worked through it, and he stopped saying the word completely.

However, whenever we were together, he would basically treat them like toys; squeezing, shaking me, groping etc. I just froze up normally. I gradually kicked up such a fuss about it that he stopped. When I asked him about it the other day - he said 'I think I was doing it because you didn't like it. Everything had been so funny in our relationship before, we just joked and were never serious and then you laid down this really serious boundary. So I wanted to see what would happen if I pushed it.'

He admitted he was wrong to do that and said sorry a lot, and promised to remember that it was something out of bounds, and shouldn't happen ever again.

The only other thing that even seems remotely similar to this boundary-crossing about him is that sometimes when I'm really upset with someone, he'll deliberately take that person's side - even if he doesn't believe it. He says he likes to 'take up the opposite point to see how well someone argues for themselves.' He does it to all our mutual friends, too.

I'm living with him now because my both my parents said there's no way I can live with either of them because of emotional abuse from my mum (they don't believe it was.) I have everything I need here, and I'm happy, but I worry how safe a person my partner is to be around this much.

Apart from crossing that boundary, he's never been coercive or pressurizing. We've been together for three years, and this (apart from doing his opposite point thing) is the only problematic thing I've noticed. At all other times, he's a brilliant friend. He really cares for me - makes me dinner and houses me, buys me presents to cheer me up, listens for hours as I talk to heal from the abuse from my mum, and other people. He warns me when he sees the person who assaulted me so I never run into them by accident. He a really caring and commuicative sexual partner and is caring and careful about being sexual with a survivor. He makes me laugh and we're always being silly and having fun; he's even helping me find work. He really has been a great emotional support and buddy. I know that abuse is systematic, so I'm wondering if this past boundary-crossing was just cruelty, as there hasn't been anything else like it in three years?

[ 10-28-2011, 09:29 AM: Message edited by: RaeRay2112 ]

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Can I ask if everything you have said here is anything -- beyond what you have said in this you have talked about -- you have expressed to him yet?

Mind, if the things you've brought up here are long in the past, and nothing like them has happened since years back, I don't see cause for continued concern. They may well have been unhealthy or abusive -- and I agree, what happened around your breasts was not at all okay -- but it may be this person unlearned those patterns at the time and has learned healthier ones since.

How do YOU feel about that?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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